The workplace can sometimes be out of our control. When going through the interview stage, we might ask about our roles and responsibilities but we rarely ever ask about where we will sit. So when we start the job, we must adapt to our surroundings -- whether it’s in an office, cubicle or open-concept office.
Let’s first break down the open vs. closed office spaces:
|Open Floor Plans||Cubicles
(or the fortunate office dweller)
An unnatural need for headphones
Birth of collaboration
Time to yourself
Optimal phone call ability
Fewer germs are spread
Space heater coverage
This is why it’s absolutely crucial to make our desk our own because so much of our working life is out of our direct control. In a full-time job, approximately 160 hours a month (nearly 2,000 hours a year), are spent at our desks. And whether or not we are all as passionate about our jobs as I am, we are individuals and we enjoy showing off what makes us different.
I went around and asked my coworkers about their favorite objects on their desk. Here are a few and why they’re important:
- Erica: “I have a picture of my baby (my motivation), my husband, and my favorite day on the job: our client Forgotten Harvest’s annual Comedy Night featuring Jay Leno.” It’s good to be sentimental as our lives drive our work and passion. Bringing them to work is an important part of being human.
- Paul: “My lightsaber chopsticks. Aside from being the most unique things, they allow me to be a Star Wars chopstick Jedi.” As a creative team, we all have our own (we use them as screen pointers, and occasionally for sword fights) and on top of being unique master Jedis of our trades, they represent a community between our creative team.
- Kambren: “My wedding ‘Save the Date’ -- it reminds me of the support my fiancé has for me about my goals, and gives me something to look forward to. The goals we share are my muse -- they keep me focused.” Of course, she also said that her soup (had it been full) would have been her favorite element of the desk -- anything to keep up inspiration and joy!
- Paige: “My mug that was a gift from my friend has motivational quotes on it, and it keeps me going.” It’s important to have elements that keep you happy and motivated through the day and remind us why we’re doing what we’re doing.
- Mark: “The pictures of my kids. Because I’m proud of them, and it motivates me.” Not only do your kids become a part of your daily life, but they also help to form a bond between you and your coworkers.
- Jared: Unlike the others, Jared has not personalized his desk. When pressed, he said he just has never brought anything in and just realized that it was bare (he also noted that he now had to bring photos in). However, due to his line of work (editing video), he often switches locations depending on the project, which means he is not as often tied to the desk as others might be. He gains inspiration from the outside world.
- Jennette: “I got my lucky cat on a trip to San Francisco with my husband. It is said to bring prosperity and good health. It holds a memory of me being with my husband and being inspired.”
- Maggie: “My cross that says, ‘More Jesus. Less Drama.’ It reminds me not to get caught up in little things.” It also reminds her to not worry about the things and/or people beyond her control.
- Garrett: “It’s a toss-up: My black globe, my pointer chopstick or my Jake the dog tin where I keep my business cards. They make me happy and take me somewhere else.” Of course, his kids also make the list. But what can really beat a Jake dog business card tin or wielding a chopstick pointer?
Often as human beings, what we are exposed to drive the creative culture that we thrive in. The universe gives us what we give out again, so it’s beneficial to create a safe and fun space for your psyche to enjoy.
Life is too short to not stare at a picture of your puppy all day.
Isn’t he adorable?